Carbon Connects

Project Summary


Carbon Connects aims to reduce the high carbon footprint of peatland soils in Northwest Europe by introducing new bio-based business models developed for sustainable land management practices.

Peatland restoration is an important component of the world’s journey to net-zero carbon emissions.
When healthy, peatlands are incredible carbon stores and potential carbon sinks – yet, if allowed to degrade, they threaten biodiversity, release pollutants into the environment and thwart climate change
mitigation and adaptation goals everywhere. 

Join us on our journey - read, learn, share and get inspired to protect peatlands!




Peatlands Across Europe: Innovation & Inspiration Guide 



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Project Partners

  • Province of North Brabant

    1 Brabantlaan
    Den Bosch
    5216 TV

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  • The Rivers Trust

    Rain-Charm House, Kyl Cober Parc, Stoke Climsland
    Callington, Cornwall
    United Kingdom

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  • Flanders research institute for agriculture, fisheries and food

    72 Gulden Vlieslaan

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  • European Landowners Organization

    67 Rue de Trèves

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  • Association of the Chambers of Agriculture of the Atlantic Area

    1 Maison d’agriculture, Rue P.A. Bobierre – La Géraudière

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  • Philipps-University Marburg

    10 Deutschhaustraße

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  • Limerick Institute of Technology

    Moylish Park

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  • North Pennines AONB Partnership

    1 Martin Street, Stanhope, DL13 2UY

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  • Flemish Land Agency

    Koning Albert II-laan 15 - 1210 Brussels

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  • Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Science

    26a Larensteinselaan

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Lead partner

Organisation Address Email Website
Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Science 26a Larensteinselaan
Name Contact Name Email Country
Province of North Brabant Frank Van Lamoen Netherlands
The Rivers Trust Rob Collins United Kingdom
Flanders research institute for agriculture, fisheries and food Frank Stubbe Belgium
European Landowners Organization Marie-Alice BUDNIOK Belgium
Association of the Chambers of Agriculture of the Atlantic Area Pascal Dagron France
Philipps-University Marburg Markus Hassler Germany
Limerick Institute of Technology Seamus Hoyne Ireland
Wear Rivers Trust Martin Colling United Kingdom
North Pennines AONB Partnership Paul Leadbitter United Kingdom
Flemish Land Agency Edgard Daemen Belgium
Durham County Council Paul Leadbitter United Kingdom
Radboud University Nijmegen Jeroen Geurts Netherlands
Waterschap Dommel Gert-Jan van Duinen Netherlands
Staatsbosbeheer (forestry service) Klaas Van der Laan Netherlands
Waterschap Aa en Maas Gert-Jan van Duinen Netherlands
ILVO (Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research) Greet Ruysschaert Belgium
Chamber of Agriculture Pays de la Loire Véronique Chauvin France



Follow our news and activities on Twitter:  @CarbonConnects 

16/07/2021 PRESS RELEASE State of the Art and Next Steps to Guide Vital Action on Peatlands
27/4/2021 Commission sets the carbon farming initiative in motion

Today the European Commission published the final report of a two-year study on how to set up and implement carbon farming in the EU. Building on this study and on the input from several EU-funded projects and events, the Commission plans to launch the carbon farming initiative by the end of 2021.

More information and links to the studies HERE


Read the white paper here

18/11/2020 The ELO-Indigo Agriculture Roundtable on Carbon Farming

As Europe grapples with the challenge of delivering against its revised 2030 emission targets, and reaching net zero by 2050, it must consider all options available for meeting these objectives. Agriculture, often seen as a contributor to the production of greenhouse gases, now has the potential become part of the solution.

Advancements in soil management technologies, accumulated understanding of regenerative agriculture practices and greater ability to collect and analyse vast amounts of soil-related data create the unprecedented opportunity to accelerate the adoption of regenerative farm practices and transform agriculture into a cost-effective, large-scale, and reliable carbon sink. Furthermore, that transformation of agriculture into a large carbon sink can also advance a wider climate, economic and environmental agenda including greater climate resilience and food safety, more sustainable farming, and innovation and investment to drive green growth in the agriculture sector.

Capturing this opportunity requires an strong alignment of stakeholders – farmers, investors, technologists, academics, NGOs and policy-makers – to set strict environmental standards, deploy technologies to cost-effectively collect data and calculate credibly carbon benefits, design economic incentives to change farmers’ practices and catalyse large-scale investment and innovation in the sector.

This Roundtable addressed the questions of how to spark such alignment and change to grasp the opportunities presented by carbon farming, as well as how to overcome some of the potential barriers and concerns.

This debate was headed by a panel, chaired by MEP Norbert Lins, moderated by Jurgen Tack of ELO; joined by MEP Paolo de Castro; Thierry de l'Escaille of ELO and Georg Goeres from Indigo.

ARTICLE [18/7/2020] Nutrient removal potential and biomass production on European rewetted peat and mineral soils

This paper was published by the project CINDERELLA and is based on a large-scale European field survey on paludiculture. Based on this European wetland survey, paludiculture holds a great potential to combine peat preservation, water purification, nutrient removal, and a high biomass production. Paludicrops take up substantial amounts of nutrients, and both summer and winter harvests provide an effective way to sequester carbon in a range of high-valued biomass products and to control nutrient effluxes from rewetted sites at the landscape scale.


New project brochure is out!
ARTICLE [30/3/2020] New science on emission estimation for peatland restoration

Check out the full article:

Rewetting can effectively reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from drained peatlands. Reliable emissions estimation approaches are needed for accounting of such reductions and for evaluating the potential in terms of carbon

Here we combine vegetation and water level proxies to estimate emissions, by using bioindication of vegetation communities for water level together with the linear correlation between annual mean water level and GHG fluxes

GHG emissions are estimated using linear regression models of gas fluxes against mean annual water levels. This approach provides spatially explicit and quantitative estimation of mean annual water levels and GHG fluxes. When combined with information on spatial patterns and variances, the resulting estimations can promote recognition of the carbon co-benefits of biodiversity restoration while facilitating more site specific optimisation of management practices.

18/12/2019 Student session: Keep peat wet!

Keep Peat Wet to Reduce Flood Risks!

A student project that has recently been carried out by environmental science students at the VHL University, NL.

 They looked at the moisture-absorbing capacity of peat and how this relates to the degree of degradation. Their gradation 1 is subdivided (so not degraded), 4 is strongly degraded (strongly degraded / oxidised). Veldverse, less degraded peat absorbs more water, thus potentially generating more reduction of flood risk. If you let it dry out completely, the relationship reverses: then the most dehydrated peat absorbs the most moisture, but that is only 1/3 of what unearthed and not dehydrated peat absorbed.


Conclusion: if the peat keeps wet, it can contribute to the reduction of flood risks by retaining peak showers in the soil. If you let it dry out too much, then this function of peat deteriorates considerably.

ARTICLE [17/12/2019] The Netherlands in 2120!

This is how green the Netherlands can be in 2120!🙌🌍 Greener cities, food and electricity production on sea and a sustainable water management. Check out the not only desirable but also POSSIBLE climate-proof plan developed by Wageningen University!

5/12/2019 World Soil Day 5th December 2019

Using the World Soil day to put the importance of peat in the picture! Check out our Twitter to learn about the activities of our consortium on this day. @CarbonConnects

4/12/2019 Joint Peat-meeting

A very successful meeting with 4 Peat-project, to bundle forces, we discovered very promising opportunities! CCONNECTS CARE-PEAT CANAPE PEAT-RESTORE Some of our outcomes for cooperation in the near future: - Synchronize Partner meetings - Welcome eachother on workshops and fieldtrips - Joint final conferences in Brussels - Shared communication tool - Common Advisory boards - Common communication to send out strong messages to a broad audience - Student involvement Looking forward to the enrollment of our plans!

12/2019 The importance of Peatland on the Agenda @COP25 Madrid!

“Avoiding loss of high-carbon soils through peatland mapping and monitoring for climate action” Monday 02 December 2019 16:45–18:15 Madrid Climate Change Conference, COP 25, Room 1 Peatlands cover less than 3 percent of the Earth's surface but hold the largest terrestrial organic carbon stock in their soils. To avoid peatland drainage and the rapid decrease of their carbon storage and consequent greenhouse gas emissions, it is essential to know where peatlands are located by further develop national peatland maps. Peatland mapping is a solid base to advance with climate-smart policy frameworks, land use planning and monitoring. Latest experiences, technology and guidelines of peatland mapping, monitoring and management techniques will be shared and discussed for further application.


 Speakers: Speakers at the event include representatives from Indonesia, Peru and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Hokkaido University, Global Environment Centre (GEC) Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and Greifswald Mire Centre. Moderated by UN Environment Programme.

Focus of the event: Peatlands cover less than 3 percent of the Earth’s surface but hold the largest terrestrial organic carbon stock in their soils. To avoid peatland drainage and the rapid decrease of their carbon storage and consequent greenhouse gas emissions, it is essential to know where peatlands are located by further develop national peatland maps. Peatland mapping is a solid base to advance with climate-smart policy frameworks, land use planning and monitoring. Latest experiences, technology and guidelines of peatland mapping, monitoring and management techniques will be shared and discussed for further application.

Hosts: GEC, Greifswald Mire Centre, JICA, FAO, Hokkaido University, UN Environment Programme. It is organized in the frame of the Global Peatlands Initiative with the support of IKI funded by German Ministry for Environment and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).



12/2019 CarbonConnects present and very active at the NWE-Impact event!

Follow us at this event on Twitter @CarbonConnects

A very successful conference that allowed us to push our project one step further!
Making an impact and synergies were the main focus of this event.


At our project stand we presented not only the idea and approach of CarbonConnects, we brought some concrete products resulting from wet farming like isolation, a cattail example, food products from lisdodde, etc. On an interactive map we were able to show our visitors the 10 pilot sites. 


A very fruitful meeting was organised with CCONNECTS, CARE PEAT and CANAPE to plan our synergies starting now! Together we will send a strong message to policy makers to stress the importance of peat management 


Check out the final agenda and discover other projects here:



29/11/2019 4th Partner Meeting, UK

Carbon Connects 4th Partner Meeting On the 27th of November, partners of the project met in Stanhope, England to hold their 4th partner meeting hosted by the North Pennines AONB Partnership. The day started with a visit of the Pennine PeatLIFE site - Valance Lodge where peat restoration techniques have been demonstrated and evaluated as part of another project. Then, the partners visited the Carbon Connects Weardale demo site: a degraded site becoming drier due to historic loss of sphagnum caused by overgrazing, burning and drainage. Indeed, sphagnum is a key component to a fully functioning blanket bog, stabilising the bog surface, increasing surface wetness and re-invigorating peat formation. In the afternoon, project updates were discussed and guest speakers from iCasp, DigiBog Hydro and the Interreg North Sea Region – Topsoil Project were welcomed to bring different perspectives and expertise on peat restoration. AC3A held the final working session by first giving an overview of the pilot sites and engaging partners in finding common points, challenges, strengths and weaknesses across them, and then by exchanging views on the transnational Low-Carbon Business Modelling. The next day started with a visit to the Middlehope Natural Flood Management Site, followed by the discovery of the High Force Waterfalls in Teesdale. In the afternoon, a working session aiming at outlining a European Certificate of Wet-Agriculture took place. Partners gathered thoughts on the pros and cons of accreditation systems, payment systems, additionality and spatial scale. To finalise this successful meeting, partners discussed the Farmer-2-Farmer programme, the communication strategy, potential synergies with other projects, as well as long term goals.

ARTICLE [11/2019] Scotland's bogs reveal a secret paradise for birds and beetles

Positive story about #peatland restoration in Scotland creating a vital carbon sink and a thriving habitat for a range of species

ARTICLE [10/2019] Climate change: Widespread drying of European peatlands

ARTICLE [11/2019] The end of turf-cutting brings opportunities to increase our energy independence

" Turf is one of the least efficient fossil fuels as it emits high levels of CO2 per unit of energy used. Alongside that, intact peat lands play a role in flood management and protecting biodiversity, as well as being an excellent carbon sink."

Sign the Peat Petition!

Peat is vital in the fight against climate breakdown, we should not be using peat compost to improve the soil in our gardens, use other organic matter for this!👍 Only 4K more votes needed to have this discussed by the UK government! ➡️Sign now!

09/10/2019 EU Roundtable workshop on Carbon Farming

Follow or view the meeting here:

The Carbon Connects Pilot Sites

The Carbon Connects consortium have selected representative pilot sites across NWE (eg. lowland bogs) and business model types (eg.crop type, credit scheme, etc) and set transnational requirements (pilot duration, C02 sampling methodology, etc) to jointly develop living labs.

The partners will design, implement and monitor pilot sites implementing low carbon land management agricultural practices and supported by sustainable business models.

These pilots have a two-fold impact:

  • directly reducing C02 emissions through wet-agricultural practices and storage of carbon in biomass products
  • regional flood mitigating effects due to changing water levels which benefit flood prone zones 




NL - Deurnsche Peel

Information on the pilot site

Size: 3 ha
Crop Type: Typha and Salix
Water level fluctuations: -70 and +2 cm

GOAL: Rewetting while supporting biodiversity preservation in this N2000 area and engage local farmers in paludiculture 

Check this document for more information.

NL - Swinkels

Information on the pilot site

Size: 1 ha
Crop Type: Cattail
Water level fluctuations: -10 and +20 cm

GOAL: Keep water table high and block the drainage ditches to reduce water loss by downward seepage for more stable ground water tables

Check this document for more information.

NL - Verbruggen

Information on the pilot site:

Size: 15 ha
Crop Type: Miscanthus
Innovative business model to grow Miscanthus to be used as substrate to grow biological mushrooms

Goal: Develop and test a business model producing the substrate for biological crops.

👉 More information here.

NL - Scheiendsven

Information on the pilot site:

Size: 0,8 ha
Crop Type: Cattail
Artificial wetland between nature and agriculture area

Goal: Experimental site for student research and start-ups to learn how to grow and harest wet crops

👉 More information here.

NL - Biest-Houtakker

Information on the pilot site:

Size: 0,4 ha
Crop Type: Cattail
Next to a wastewater treatment plant where the water quality of the site is monitored

Goal: Teach local farmers and start-ups in the region how to grow and harvest cattail.

👉 More information here.

NL - Raamsloop

Information on the pilot site:

Size: 5 ha
Crop Type: Cattail, Alder and Willow
New wetland plot to be created in an ecological connection zone

Goal: Experimental site for paludiculture by allowing nature inclusive agriculture engaging local farmers.

👉 More information here.

NL - Soerendonk

Information on the pilot site:

Size: 1.3 ha
Crop Type: Cattail
Agricultural area used for grazing and local water management by serving as a flooding area

Goal: Learn how to grow and harvest cattail to start the production for start-ups in the region

👉 More information here.


FR - Lake of Grand Lieu

Information on the pilot site:

Size: 3000 ha
Type: Grasses grow naturally, no cultivation
Water level fluctuations: 0,7-4 m, Grazing Cattle

Goal: Analyse what is the ideal level of carbon storage and the realistic one for maintaining human and agricultural practices

👉 More information here.

FR - Contentin-Bessin

Information on the pilot site:
Size: 30 000 ha
Land Use: Grazing and grass harvesting
Crop Type: Permanent grasslands
Water level: Adjustable

- Maintain agriculture in marshlands
- Contribution of knowledge on carbon storage, technical and economic data related to
- Reflection on public and private agri-environmental policies to support these environments

👉 More information here.

IR - Oughterard

Information on the pilot site:

Size: 137 ha
Crop Type: Ling heather soft rush
Highly degraded and drained blanket because of extractions during the last 20-30 years for domestic and industrial purposes

Goal: Improving the water quality, enhancing the habitat especially for Pearl Mussel by having a good vegetated peatland located adjacent to a water body, supporting the landowners in quantifying and improving the Carbon Sequestration Potential

👉 More information here.

UK - Valance Lodge

Information on the pilot site:

Size: 4.5 ha
Crop Type: Sphagnum
Upland blanket bog with degraded vegetation community caused by overgrazing, burning and drainage

Goal: Demonstrating cost effective Sphagnum inoculation on degraded peatland to improve condition, reduce carbon emissions and prevent further degradation and costly restoration works in fut.ure

👉 More information here.

BE - Kwetshage

Information on the pilot site:

Size: 90 ha
Crop Type: spontaneously grown sedges, rushes, reed, grass and planting of reed and cattail for capturing nutrients in surface water
Land Use: Former agricultural area to be transformed into wetland, serving both nature goals and water management goals as a flooding area.

Goal: Rewetting the entire area, the creation of a high-quality reed marsh and the implementation of a sustainable management of habitats in cooperation with local farmers, stimulating the use of biomass from the wetland in farming practices

👉 More information here.

BE - De Blankaart

Information on the pilot site:

Size: 1000 ha
Crop Type: spontaneously grown reed, sedges, rushes, grass, willow
Land use: Nature Reserve with 50 ha large pond

Goal: Wetland restoration and rewetting. Increase of C-stock. Use of biomass for on-farm composting and compost use on arable land

👉 More information here.

SITE EMISSION TOOL DOWNLOAD: Download the calculation sheet to calculate your emission

SITE EMISSION TOOL ONLINE: Discover how the calculator sheet looks like

For World Peatlands Day five EU transnational projects exploring innovative measures to save our peatlands have released the Peatlands Across Europe: Innovation and Inspiration guide outlining their experiences and recommendations. Authored by Bax & Company’s Amber De La Haye, Cisca Devereux and Sebastiaan van Herk, with contributions from Carbon Connects, Care-Peat, DESIRE, LIFE Peat Restore, and CANAPE, the document aims to pave the way for future action on peatlands.



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